With more than 11 miles of sandy shorelines and sparkling bays, Long Beach is the perfect place to enjoy time both in and on the water. From standup paddleboards to sailboats, harbor cruises to romantic gondola rides, Long Beach offers waterfront activities for everyone.
Thanks to a protective breakwater built by the U.S. Navy during World War II, Long Beach’s sandy shores are a great choice for families. Protected from major waves and without riptides, shorelines like Alamitos Beach, Marine Park (aka Mother’s Beach), and Belmont Shore Beach provide plenty of space for sunbathing or sand castle building and calm waters for families with small children to enjoy the beach without the worry of wipe-out.
Water sports and tours
Always wanted to learn how to kitesurf? That same breakwater that makes the shoreline safe for little ones also makes Long Beach’s Belmont Shores one of the best places for beginners to learn the sport. Try out a 90-minute Discovery lesson with SoCal Kitesurfing or jump into a three-hour group lesson with Captain Kirks. Visitors can also rent standup paddleboards, kayaks, Aqua bikes, Duffy electric boats, and other watercraft in Rainbow Marina.
If being on the water is more your vacationing style, a guided 45-minute harbor tour from Harbor Breeze Cruises will help you get your bearings in town and learn about the history and marine life of the Long Beach waterfront. Or choose one of their three-hour whale-watching tours. Look for gray whales December through April, the mighty blue whales June through October, and an endless supply of dolphins, sea lions, and other marine life all year. Make reservations online for the best deal. Looking for something even grander? Charter a sailboat through the Harbor Yacht Club or Los Angeles Yacht Charter for a day or overnight trip to Catalina Island.
Also along the waterfront, sign up for the annual Aquarium of the Pacific 5K in October to run (or walk) past Rainbow Harbor and Queensway Bridge on a flat, scenic course. Bonus: All participants get a $5 voucher for admission to the aquarium.
For a little romance on your visit, take a Venetian gondola ride with Gondola Getaway. The one-hour gondola rides take groups of two to six passengers through the canals of Naples with views of million-dollar homes, luxurious yachts, and bridges arching over the canals. Pack your own appetizers and wine to enjoy on the boat (they’ll provide glasses and an ice bucket!) or book a Brunch or Pizza Cruise. Larger groups in town for weddings and other events can hire multiple boats at once or the larger “Carolina” that holds up to 15 people. If you’re lucky, you might even get serenaded by your gondolier.
Get around town
The Long Beach waterways are also a great way to get around the city without getting in your car. From Rainbow Harbor, visitors can hop on the Aquabus, a 49-passenger boat that travels between Rainbow Harbor, the Queen Mary, Hotel Maya, and the Catalina Landing, or the AquaLink, a 79-passenger high-speed catamaran that travels between Rainbow Harbor, the Queen Mary, Vet’s Pier, and Alamitos Bay.